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Project 2015 Awards Study Grants for Commemoration Events in Istanbul

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Students to Travel from Europe, United States for Guided Studies on Armenian Genocide in Turkey

(Los Angeles, April 6, 2015) – Project 2015 has awarded nineteen students from ten universities grants totaling $30,000 to travel to Turkey to participate in Armenian Genocide commemoration events, Project 2015 said today. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Portugal, as well as an anonymous British foundation provided the funds for the grants. Project 2015 expressed its gratitude to both organizations. Project 2015 is a US-based organization, working to ensure that a large contingent of Armenians and Americans come to Turkey for the historic centennial commemoration. Working with Durde, its partner organization in Turkey, Project 2015 is striving to ensure a meaningful opportunity to honor the victims of the Armenian Genocide and recognize the resilience of the survivors.

“We are delighted to award these study grants because university students committed to the study of genocide and human rights are the future citizen leaders of their communities,” said Heghnar Watenpaugh, Project 2015 board member and professor at UC Davis. “The participation of these students in the Istanbul commemoration events holds tremendous promise for future meaningful exchange this year and for many years to come.”

The study grant award criteria required each student to create an independent study plan under the supervision of a university professor, in accordance with each university’s requirements and for credit where possible. The grantees come from universities in the United States, Europe and Turkey, including UCLA, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, Columbia University, Stanford University, Central European University, Touro University, Viadrina European University, and Hacettepe University in Ankara. Many, but not all, of the students are of Armenian descent.

The planned research projects will explore the genocide commemoration through the lenses of history, human rights movements, music and sound, documentary filmmaking, personal and collective histories, and journalism. Some of the students will carry out the studies as part of their PhD dissertation projects.

“We want students to travel to Istanbul to interact with their peers in Turkey and to be part of the centennial commemoration activities as a significant learning moment in their lives,” said Sebouh David Aslanian, Project 2015 board member and professor at UCLA.  “Together with our supporters we are making an investment not only in the meaningful commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, but also in the pursuit of truth, justice, and dignity.”

Many of the students will be traveling to Turkey for the first time in their lives. A grantee who is a descendant of Armenian Genocide survivors wrote, “Project 2015 would give me the opportunity to be the first of my family to return to the country of our ancestors and experience a personal journey that will help me gain perspective on the situation in Turkey.”

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